Involvement of monoamines and proinflammatory cytokines in mediating the anti-stress effects of Panax quinquefolium

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 May 8;117(2):257-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.01.035. Epub 2008 Feb 8.


Panax quinquefolium (PQ) is well acclaimed in literature for its effects on central and peripheral nervous system. The present study explores the effects of PQ on stress induced changes of corticosterone level in plasma, monoamines (NA, DA and 5-HT) and interleukin (IL-2 and IL-6) levels in cortex and hippocampus regions of brain and also indicate their possible roles in modulating stress. Mice subjected to chronic unpredictable stress (CUS, for 7 days) showed significant increase in plasma corticosterone level and depletion of noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) levels in cortex and hippocampal regions along with an increased level of IL-2 and IL-6 in the same areas. Aqueous suspension of PQ was administered daily at a dose of 100 and 200mg/kg p.o. prior to the stress regimen and its effects on selected stress markers in plasma and brain was evaluated. PQ at a dose of 200mg/kg p.o. was found to be effective in normalizing the CUS induced elevation of plasma corticosterone and IL-2, IL-6 levels in brain. Moreover, it was significantly effective in reinstating the CUS induced depletion of NA, DA and 5-HT in hippocampus, while NA and 5-HT in cortex of brain. However, PQ at a dose of 100mg/kg p.o. was found ineffective in regulating any of these CUS induced changes. Present study provides an insight into the possible role of PQ on hyperactive HPA axis in the regulation of immediate stress effectors like corticosterone, cytokines and brain monoamines. In this study, PQ has emerged as a potential therapeutic in the cure of stress related disorders and needs to be evaluated in clinical studies to ascertain its efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / blood
  • Biogenic Monoamines / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Corticosterone / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hyperpituitarism / drug therapy
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects
  • Interleukin-1 / blood
  • Interleukin-1 / physiology*
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy*


  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Corticosterone